Review by DanLionheart

"My favorite 360 game."

BioWare, the minds behind Baldur's Gate, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, and Jade Empire have done it again. They've produced an amazing display of a game, and in higher quality than ever before.

Mass Effect is a sci-fi Action/RPG that immerses you in a highly political story giving you virtually every choice and response to make. You create a character, choose their class, and after you begin the story you will gain squad mates (party size is 3) and allocate their skill points to which weapons and bionic (think force powers) abilities you'd like to master. The actual upgrading aspect of Mass Effect's combat is nice, but the combat itself is very, VERY mediocre. It's the standard run and cover third person shooting. Fire fights are neither chaotic nor are they containing depth, and the majority of the time you'll do fine if you just jump behind a corner and hold the right trigger before the enemy advances. Some of this is due to the squad AI (which is very good and knows how to dispose of enemies), some might be just that I know how to upgrade my character so I don't find fights particularly challenging or needing strategy often.

This generally moderate flaw aside, Mass Effect is far beyond the point of greatness in every other category. I would go as far as calling it one of the most beautiful games ever witnessed. I don't think it's hands down the best, but certainly top ten of all-time. Character models, body language, lighting, and environments are very well done. On top of this, the atmospheric tone is amazing with one of the more brilliant soundtracks I've heard for a game. Mass Effect's most drawing quality (like any true classic RPG) is it's story. This is a reinvention of the RPG genre with the way the story is approached. You'll go through conversations, choose responses, and everything will be affected throughout the entire game. Relationships with characters will change, and nobody is a clearly cut good or evil person. Just like real life, everyone has their own opinions, and while you may not agree with them, you can still respect how they got there.. It's very fluid and well done.

If you need a fast paced, intense game with lots of action, Mass Effect probably isn't your cup of tea. But if story (an amazing one at that) is what you're looking for, this is not just your cup of tea, it's your favorite brand, in your favorite mug, being consumed while you sit in your favorite chair. Mass Effect is one of the most cinematic, movie-like experiences in all of gaming, and just for that it deserves to be played.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 12/11/08

Game Release: Mass Effect (US, 11/20/07)

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